South of the Isles of Scilly MCZ

Status: Proposed

Description

Site overview

This offshore site is located 15km south of the Isles of Scilly, a biodiversity hotspot where seals, dolphins, whales, and the world’s second largest fish, the basking shark are regulalry spotted. The seabed is a mix of sand and gravels providing important habitat for invertebrates, such as octopus, and commercially important fish - which in turn contribute to the food chain that supports the larger predators.

There are very few offshore sites protected in English seas. Designation of this marine conservation zone in 2019 would be a valuable addition to the UK network of MPAs, and should afford this seabed protection from damaging activities such as heavy, bottom-towed fishing gear.

MPA Type

Marine Conservation Zone

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are designated under UK legislation (Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) and have been established around England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contribute to the UK MPA network protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh territorial and UK offshore waters.

Surface Area

132.19 km2 (51.04 mi.2)

Perimeter

46.00 km (28.58 mi.)

Did you know?…

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

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